Leading microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung has warned that Hong Kong will not be free of the threat of avian flu until it wipes out live poultry sales in wet markets.
Speaking at a conference on epidemics on Saturday, the University of Hong Kong professor said the city needed a change in its food culture, and called selling live poultry for consumption "abnormal".
But he had better news on severe acute respiratory syndrome – the disease he famously helped track down during an outbreak that devastated the city in 2003.
He said Sars would not return, because the mainland had greatly reduced the risk of cross-species transmission by closing game animal markets. However Professor Yuen expects more infectious diseases to arise in the years to come.
A HKU research team led by Yuen announced earlier this week that it had discovered a chemical substance that could battle numerous viruses, including those causing the common flu, Sars and Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as Mers.